With the current zombie trend in a variety of media, a zombie GI Joe figure was probably inevitable. That he ends up on the Cobra side of the fence, isn’t a huge stretch.
Following with a theme of bio-terrorism in the 30th Anniversary line, the Zombie Viper fills a role that a large terrorist would seem to have, living weapon.
Let me just say first off, I don’t believe this was the original color scheme plan for this figure. The blue seem to be an extension of Compound Z story from the Hazard Viper’s card. The overall blue on the artwork doesn’t really match the grey look of the figure.
My guess is what you see as bright blue on the figure was intended to be some sort red that was vetoed for being too graphic for the toy aisle. Kind of like how the end of the first Kill Bill was in black in white to tone down the red blood.
Starting from the top, the head of this guy is a ragged noggin. The head looks distorted by rot and what ever caused his reanimation. The open mouth is well done, and makes sense. The jaw would be hanging slack unless he was eating. He also has a great vacant look.
I really think there is a great sculpt here. I’m even okay with the general grey pallor. What I’m not especially impressed by is the bright blue paint mentioned above. Yeah, I know it’s supposed to be in his tissue, but where it’s meant to represent “blood” on his hair, scalp and cheek, it doesn’t look right. The sculpted wounds and muscle it look okay, but the other areas just look odd.
The torso of the figure is in a green jumpsuit that is mostly covered by a web gear harness. Through the harness we can see little of a large black Cobra logo on his chest. I don’t want to pull the web gear off to view it since it’s tight, but I’m guessing this is torso that can be reused by a non-zombie.
And here’s where I think they missed the boat a bit. The upper arms appear to be similar to the Shock Trooper with tilted pockets and Cobra logos. Why didn’t they just do that? If these are Cobra soldiers, why not make it look like the Shock Trooper’s uniform instead of green? Or better yet, make his uniform a standard Blue Shirt uniform. It would have been a bit more fun to stand Zombie and non-Zombie versions of the same soldier next to each other.
In the front, the harness is composed mainly of two vertical straps. I’m assuming these looped between his legs before they were torn, since they have a match on the backside. I just don’t understand why they needed to or why they would have ripped. A neat detail is there are four pipe bombs on the waist of this rigging. Remote detonating suicide zombies? I could see Cobra doing that.
The back of the harness is quite a bit different. It is comprised of four large plugs for Compound Z canisters. The top one covers the back of his neck, but surprisingly doesn’t hinder the neck joint.
The upper arms and legs are fairly normal jumpsuit pieces. There are no tatters or flesh wounds in them. I suspect they have either been used in other figures or will be. The lack of a holster on the legs would be the only issue. I have to say the black wash they used to dirty up the green areas is pretty well done.
The lower arms have an extra joint in the middle. This joint allows them to pop off to use the accessory arms. A small piece is inserted here to make tattered ends on the sleeves. However, it just doesn’t quite pull of the effect. The main issue is the portion between the joint and elbow is zombie flesh. The two tattered pieces look more like some kind of zombie carpal tunnel aid.
I will say I love the hands on this guy. They look like old man arthritis hands which is perfect for zombie clawing action. Both hands are given an extra wrist joint, in this case they’re both the same, allowing him to tilt his hands for crawling on the ground. The joint is a little bulbous, but isn’t too noticeable. It’s an acceptable appearance/articulation trade off to me.
A really odd detail is the left elbow. It is sculpted with zombie growths and an elbow pad. However, the elbow is molded in the zombie flesh color and unpainted. Apparently, he absorbed it.
The legs fare much better. They are sculpted and painted as tattered clothes and wounds. There are two sculpted knee pads that are molded in green. However, they don’t match each other.
The feet are pretty cool the toes on the right foot are slightly raised. The left ankle has a ring of fabric on it. Here, it makes more sense because it is in a more natural position than the one mid arm.
Every GI Joe has to have cool accessories, and the Zombie Viper is no exception. The most obvious one is the small Compound Z can that plugs into his back. Yes, I said one. There are four ports on his back, but one canister. It’s a fairly plain piece with a segmented hose coming out of one end.
The hose plugs into the back of a translucent blue mask/helmet combination. I would guess from the way it works that is so he can breathe in chemicals to keep him alive, or dead, or alive. You get the picture. The helmet reminds me a bit of Krauss and Abe from Hellboy. Maybe it’s the blue color. I like it, but I doubt I’ll display him with it.
Lastly, this zombie comes with two tentacle fore arms. These are molded and painted to match the zombie flesh. They remind me of the infected folks in Resident Evil 4, the way they had growths and such. They actually look like they might be intended to be some sort of mutated hands since there are five “fingers” on each one. One tentacle end on each of these has a a flat leaf shaped tip. I would imagine this is some kind of sucker.
I’m glad you can change these out. You can switch one or both depending on the look you want. I would imagine how well you like these extra appendages depends on if you see him as a chemically altered human or a reanimated dead soldier. Based on the Compound Z angle, I think the creators were going for the first.
I know there’s been a lot said about this figure since he was first announced and shown. Some folk have thought he was neat, others have abhorred the idea of zombies in the GI Joe universe. I like him. However, I would have preferred a straight up zombie instead of a florescent blue one.
I think he gives a pretty interesting bad guy for collector’s shelves. Matching him up with the Hazard Viper starts to create an interesting scenario for dioramas (or playing with your figures).